To most people, discovering that a loved one is an alcohol or drug addict can be a very painful experience, accepting this truth is not easy at all. However, it is very important namely react to this situation and bring all the support that we can to this person.
Some people tend to deny the problem or try to minimize it, but it only makes it worst. If the addict feels that you downplay his/her problem, he/she also can underestimate it and then he/she will do nothing to overcome it.
There is not a perfect way to help someone who has an addiction, but there are some things that you can do to help, and others that you should completely avoid.
The first step is accepting the problem and handling it carefully, attitudes of reproach should be completely avoided. Think about it, if you feel guilty and bad about a problem the last thing you want to hear is “I told you so”, “you always get in troubles”, “you do everything wrong”, among others. So, don’t act as executioner and just listen to the addicted person.
On the other hand, phrases as “we can come out from this situation”, and “you’re not alone”, can be very useful and supportive. It is important to listen to the addict concerns, show that you are willing to help, and volunteering to look for information about the rehabilitation process.
When an addiction problem is detected in the first stages, it becomes easier to overcome, so if you think that a relative of yours may have an addiction problem, act as soon as possible, and show him/her that he/she can trust you.
Determining the kind of addiction that a person has is very important because different substances have different ways of treatment. Likewise, it is important to decide the best option according to the personality of the affected person; for example, some people can be greatly benefited from group therapies, but shy people usually prefer individual therapies and secret programs.
Providing the affected person with the ability to make their own decisions is very helpful, a person with an addiction can only overcome the problem if he/she feels that he/she holds the reins of his/her life. It is very important that you support all the patient decisions, especially if you do not agree. Imposing a specific treatment, center, or attitude can make the person to go away and leave the rehab process.
It is essential for you not to become a martyr, don’t blame yourself, remember that you need to be strong for the other person, he/she has a real problem and if you victimize yourself, the person can lose his/her trust on you. If you feel that you also need help to avoid depression or anxiety, you need to look for a specialist, but you must focused in the addicted person.
A rehabilitation process can be very difficult both for the patient and his/her family and friends, but the only way to overcome an addiction is feeling supported and loved, so don’t turn your back on him/her at this moment.